Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Rand Paul Right to call out President

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On Wednesday March 7th at 11:45, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul took the senate floor to begin his filibuster blocking Senate confirmation of John Brennan, President Obama’s pick for director of the CIA. Though I usually do not agree with any Tea Party member, Paul pointed out how dangerous drones are to the American public. Though drones are used on the battlefield across the Atlantic Ocean, the U.S. government is now talking about using drones in the United States for surveillance or killing an American in extreme circumstances.

In a letter to Paul on March 4th, Attorney General Eric Holder stated the Federal government has not conducted such operations and doesn’t plan to…but it was possible President Obama could be forced by an “extraordinary circumstance” to kill citizens inside the United States, such as similar attacks to Pearl Harbor and 9/11 Attacks. Rand took to the senate floor to point how the U.S. government could abuse its power and use the drones to kill terrorist suspects without first taking the suspects to court. As the 5th Amendment states:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Paul was not the only one to question drones, he was joined by several other Republican senators and Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon. The senators questioned the constitutionality of drone strikes on U.S. citizens at home and aboard. As Paul pointed out “No American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found guilty of a crime by a court… How can you kill someone without going to a judge, or a jury?” Already American terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki was killed by a drone strike in Yemen. Since he was an American, didn’t al-Awlaki deserve a trial? Would soldiers be criticized for killing an American suspect and not taking him in? And if future al-Aklakis were lying in bed in their American homes, would a drone be used to kill them? Does America’s future involve drones flying in American skies?

Since the War of Terror started, about 95% of killings have been done by drones. Drones have killed 4,700 people, but up to 25% may have be civilians. On September 11, 2012, drones attacked U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, killing four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador. Now I realize that in war, everything goes. Innocent men, women, and children are going to die in wars. But if drones are used in the U.S., doesn’t that mean that innocent people could also be killed. People who are no way near a battlefield could be killed as collateral damage or the U.S. government could be wrong. How many people have died because the SWAT team invaded the wrong house? U.S. Marine Jose Guerena was killed by the SWAT team when he grabbed his gun to protect his family from invaders. The court system is used to make sure a criminal is a criminal.

Not all Republicans agree with Paul ‘s stance on drones (such as Senator John McCain), believing he spent 13 hours scaring Americans. But Americans should continue to question the president, especially since the Authorization for Use of Military Force, passed right after 9/11 attacks, grants the presidents to use “all necessary and appropriate force” against any person, organization, or nation connected to the 9/11 attacks. The War on Terror continues to spread throughout the Middle East, entering Africa. And though drones are usually used when the U.S. is 100% positive the suspect is a terrorist, sometimes  the “reasonable man” standard is used. The reasonable man standard means that drones do not need to confirm positive identification of a target before firing, while a soldier would need to know before firing on a suspect.

Paul refused to end his filibuster until he could no longer continue or the president or Attorney General Holder clarified if the president has the power to kill Americans. Paul ended his filibuster finished at 12:45 a.m. Thursday. After 13 hours on the Senate floor, now all of America knows who Paul is and he is now a candidate for the 2016 Presidential election. The U.S. government replied to Paul with the following letter:

It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: “Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?” The answer to that question is no.

Sincerely,

Eric H. Holder, Jr.

Paul and American received the answer, but the drone issue has just started. America is starting to realize that the president has too much power.

 

“To announce that there must be no criticism of the president… is morally treasonable to the American public.” Theodore Roosevelt

Common Sense: One Method of Gun Control

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On December 16, 2012, President Barrack Obama announced to the American public his four suggestions to Congress on how to decrease gun violence in the United States. Though banning military guns, cracking down on illegal gun trafficking, assigning police officers to public schools, and doing research on mental illness will all play an important role in decreasing gun violence, there is one inexpensive object that is free to all that can decrease gun violence: Common Sense. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary common sense is a “sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts.” Everyone has common sense, yet people in general do not always use it as much as they should. In a country where gun violence is resulting in hundreds of deaths each year, it is up to gun owners to use common sense to prevent innocent people from dying.

 

English: Clockwise start at the top left: Gloc...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nancy Lanza, the mother of Adam Lanza, knew something was wrong with her son, something more than just autism. Though he was awkward and lacked social skills, he was known to go into outburst in high school that required the school to contact his mother since she was the only one who could calm him down. Adam avoided social interaction, had zero friends, and was teased; he was the type of person who could become the next Columbine Shooter. My generation went to high school after the Columbine School Shooting, knowing that the loners being picked on could resort to murder in order to take revenge on the school bullies. He was an unemployed 20-years-old, living with his mother after dropping out of Western Connecticut State University. After his parents divorced in 2010, he cut off all contact with his father and older brother, an example on how he was angry about his parents divorce. Adam was also seeing a psychiatrist. Something was wrong with Adam, yet his mother kept several types of guns in the house, including the Glock 10-mm handgun, Sig Sauer 9-mm handgun, and Bushmaster AR-15 assault rifle used in the Sandy Brook Elementary School Shooting. When Adam went to Dick’s Sporting Goods to purchase a rifle, he chanted his mind after he was told that there was a waiting period. He knew at home he had the Bushmaster AR-15, the assault-type weapon similar to the M-16 rifle used by the U.S. military, capable of firing 45 rounds per minute. Adam also knew how to use the guns since his mother had taken him to the gun range several times over the years… Even though Nancy knew there was something wrong with her son, she kept several guns in the house and taught Adam how to shoot. No parent with a child suffering from a mental illness should own guns in her house, much less teach the child how to use it.

On Christmas Eve 2012, William Spengler, 62, murdered his sister and then set fire to his house in hopes of burning down his neighborhood and killing everyone. When firefighters arrived at the scene, he used a semiautomatic rifle to kill two firefighters. After exchanging gun fire with an off-duty cop, Spengler used a handgun to fatally shoot himself. Spengler was not new to murder, after all, he used a hammer to kill his grandmother years ago when she refused to give him money for drugs.This also meant that Spengler was a convicted felon and not able to buy guns, yet he was able to obtain the two guns used in the attack. Did he purchase the guns from a guy selling guns from the trunk of his car? Did he purchase the guns from a gang member in the shady part of town? Did he steal the guns from a woman who lives alone? No, he asked his 20-year-old neighbor to assist him to a gun shop where he picked out the guns while she made the purchase, a “straw purchase.” Did Dawn Nguyen know Spengler was a former convict? There is a possibility because other neighbors have told police that they knew he killed his grandmother and served time in jail, making it possible that Nguyen knew she was committing a crime by purchasing a gun for a convicted felon. But even if she did not know, why did she not question why a man in his sixties was not able to purchase the guns himself? It is common knowledge that only convicted felons and locked-up mental illness patients cannot purchase guns. No one should purchase guns for someone she barely knows.

On September 12, 2012, a two-year-old boy accidentally shot himself with a handgun and died. He was at home with his parents, one of which is a cop, when he picked up the loaded gun from the table and shot himself. Sadly, this type of gun accident is why 120 people between the ages 1-19 died in 2010, according to Centers for Disease Control. Every year hundreds of children die from guns because their parents did not keep guns away from them. Even a police officer, who knows how to use a gun and how dangerous a gun is, kept a loaded gun on a table in the same house as his toddler lived. Why would parents keep a loaded gun on a table? Did they think their “terrible two” son would not find the gun? As every parent knows, toddlers are magnetically drawn to dangerous objects; but yet some parents still do not keep their guns locked up on a high shelf. If one must own a gun in the same house as where children live, then they need to keep the gun unloaded, the bullets in a separate location, the safety on, and the gun locked up on a high shelf. Too many innocent children die each year because their own parents lack the common sense to keep a loaded gun away from a child.

The United States government can pass all the gun laws it desires but the laws will not work if people lack the common sense to follow the laws. Gun owners should not keep guns in the same house where someone with a mental disability lives or teach a person with a mental illness on how to use a gun. A citizen should not purchase a gun for a stranger/neighbor/friend in any circumstance since there could be a reason why he himself could not purchase the gun; plus, the gun buyer could also face 10 years in prison for purchasing a gun for a convicted felon. Parents should not keep a loaded gun in a spot where children can access the gun. If everyone just had common sense when it came to guns, then there would be less gun violence in the country.

 

U.S. vs. China: What Country will Win against Elementary School Attackers

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Flag at half mast, Laguna Beach, California, M...

Flag at half mast (Photo credit: Siadhal)

On the same day that a shooter killed twenty six innocent victims at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, a knifeman entered an elementary school in China, injuring twenty two children and one adult. Though both were tragic events, only one resulted in death. At first it is easy to compare the two: the United States allows guns which is why the American children were killed while in China, a country that prohibits guns, all the children survived. It’s easy to point a finger at the United States and blame it and its gun-loving cowboys for the reason why twenty little angels are in heaven. It is easy for the Chinese to suggest that the United States follows them and ban guns. And the Chinese government wants everyone to believe the easy view, to know that China is better than the United States; but in reality the United States dealt with the tragedy better than China.

After the Newtown massacre, several Chinese commenters pointed out how the U.S. is at fault for the lives of twenty children because it allows guns. To them, the U.S. is the loser because China does not have to worry about deaths due to guns since it prohibits them (though some Chinese bloggers argue that if they had guns, the government would think twice about taking land and approving projects with destructive effects on their environment.) While those few Chinese were bragging about how awesome their country is, thousands of other Chinese expressed sorrow by lighting candles for those that were killed. On Monday, the hashtag “Honoring Ordinary Heroes” stayed at the top on Sina Weibo (China’s equivalent of Twitter). But did the Chinese know that seven children were in critical condition due to an attack on an elementary school in their own country? There is currently talk among media outlets that the Chinese government purposely hid knowledge of the knifeman in order to paint China as a safe country and the U.S. as a dangerous country. China uses censorship to control its people by letting them think that China is the best country in the world, though pretending that there are not seven children clinging to life is pathetic.

This is not the first time a man attacked an elementary school in China. In fact, this trend has been increasing in China in the past few years. In 2010, there were numerous attacks on elementary schools in China by men wielding hammers, knives, or meat cleavers, resulting in at least 20 children and adults dead and over 60 injured. Reasons for these increasing attacks include mental illness and a society frustrated with the Chinese government. The Chinese government promised extra security for the primary schools, but where was the security on Friday when a man was able to stab children at a school for over thirty minutes? It was only two months ago that a man with a machete killed three children and injured thirteen others at a private daycare. One month ago, a high school student was stabbed with a knife and died outside of his school. There is no reason why a man was able to attack innocent children for that long. At the Newtown shooting, the police responded in a matter of minutes, preventing more deaths since the shooter committed suicide once he realized that the police were on their way.  China promised security after realizing that the number of attacks on elementary schools was becoming too common, yet it did not go through with that promise. If there was security at the doors of the school, maybe seven children would not be spending the night at a hospital tonight.

Who are these children in critical condition at the hospital right now? The Chinese government has not released the names of any of children involved in the attack or released any updates about the children in critical condition at the hospitals. After the Newtown attack, names and pictures of all the victims were released to the media. Family and friends told reporters their favorite memories of their loved ones, reminding the public how it is more important to remember the victims than the killer.

As Americans watched the television set as the Newtown events unfolded, they watched President Barack Obama speak to the media, shedding tears. Obama is a father to two girls and like many parents, he was thinking about how lucky he is to have his children alive. Obama ordered that flags be flown at half-mast as the country mourned. While the outgoing Chinese President Hu Jinato sent his condolences to Obama, he has not made any public statement of the knifeman attack in his own country. A press conference was cancelled and Chinese reporters admit that they are having trouble finding answers as to why their government ignores the stabbing incident. “Their Obama cried and lowered the flag to half-mast. What about us? The gap, this is the difference between first and second” said one Weibo user (Weibo is a blog site in China).

Though one villain managed to destroy lives in Newtown, survivors told stories of all the heroes that emerged, saving many more lives. Sandy Hook Elementary School Principal Dawn Hochsprung and school psychologist Mary Sherlach lunged at the attacker, trying to stop him while knowing that they would not survive the attack. There is First-grader teacher Victoria Soto who hid her class and when the attackedropened the door, she told him how the children were at the gym; he shot her dead. First-grader teacher Kaitlin Roig survived the attack by hiding all 15 students into a tiny bathroom – believing that they could all die, she told the students she loved them so that would be the last thing they heard. Numerous teachers hid children while other students helped their friends flee the school. The Newtown tragedy showed that even though there is evil in the world, there are more good people. But in China, what happened on Friday remains a mystery and at the moment only one woman emerges as a hero (The Chinese government has yet to say what happened, so this account is only going to what witnesses are saying). Witnesses say that around 7 am, a villager began punching students near the school entrance and Xiang Jiaying, a 85 year-old woman who lived next to the school tried to stop the man before he went inside the school. He chased her back to her house where he broke in, grabbed her kitchen knife, stabbed her, and went back to the school. Reports say that while majority of students managed to barricade the doors, many students were left to fend for themselves since teachers locked themselves in their classrooms. The knifeman was able to injure 22 children before being caught by police with help from other villagers and parents around 8 am. A crazy man was able to injure 22 students and one elderly woman for one hour before adults were able to arrest him. Though what actually happened is not known due to the Chinese government’s silence, there is no reason why children were left to fend for themselves for one hour.

Though China did not lose a life in the recent attack on a school, attacks on schools are becoming too common in China; but yet, the government chooses to hide the attacks and lie to its people on how they are increasing security. The Chinese government also chooses to ignore the high number of people suffering from mental illness in its country, nearly all the attacks are by men suffering from a mental illness. Instead, it arrested 93 people spreading rumors of the world ending on December 21st because they believe that was the reason why the knifeman attacked the school. In the United States, people are calling for stricter gun control laws while ignoring the fact that the shooter, like many others, suffered from a mental illness. Instead of comparing each other’s elementary school attacks and blaming guns, both countries should be focusing on better security at schools and dealing with the growing number of mental illness. “The legal right to carry guns is a symbol of American democracy. The tragedy today is but a price for freedom,” wrote one Sina Weibo blogger, translated by OffBeat China.

Sources:

Outcry over Chinese state media coverage of tragic school attacks Ernest Kao South China Morning Post

Knifeman attacked children at Henan school Stephen Chen

In China, Newtown hits home Benjamin Carlson global post

Texas Petition Insults Civil War Soldiers’ Memories

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English: Incidents of the war. A harvest of de...

English: Incidents of the war. A harvest of death, Gettysburg, PA. Dead Federal soldiers on battlefield. Negative by Timothy H. O’Sullivan. Positive by Alexander Gardner. Deutsch: Vorkommnisse im Krieg. Die Ernte des Todes. Gettysburg, Juli 1863 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On this day, November 19th, 149 years ago, President Abraham Lincoln gave one of the most famous speeches in United States history– the Gettysburg Address. President Lincoln read his inspiring speech at the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The cemetery was where, months earlier, over 50,000 American (Union and Confederacy) soldiers died. The Civil War claimed over 620,000 American lives – a number that is estimated because not all of the bodies were recovered. This war resulted in families being torn apart and cities being burned to the ground; but yet, the talk of Civil War has emerged again… all because President Barack Obama was reelected.

All fifty states have started petitions about having their state seceding from the United States, but the top seven states (Texas, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee) are all from the South. Texas boasts of a petition of over 100,000 signatures; though in a state where the population is over 25 million, the petition only represents .0039% of the population. These petitioners actually believe that their state can stand alone, yet it was the original settlers of Texas who chose to be a part of the United States. These petitioners believe that they can protect themselves from other countries, but the Texans needed help from the United States during the Mexican-American War in the 1840s. These people believe they can make a profit, yet six of these seven states account for 23% of aid received from the federal government. Most of these states have tried to leave the United States before and it resulted in a bloody battle; as the philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who do not remember their past are condemned to repeat their mistakes.” The possibility of the states seceding from the United States is slim as the Civil War showed.

As talk of secession continues, the talk of a possible Civil War has appeared in discussions amongst the social media websites. The people talk as though Civil War is needed in order to demonstrate how corrupt the United States has become…yet do they realize how over 620,000 Americans died in the last war. And in a world of planes, bombs, and drones, that number would only be greater. Are these petitioners willing to risk their lives to fight against their fellow countrymen because President Obama was re-elected? The first Civil War resulted after decades of issues, including: states’ rights, slavery, confusing territory outlines, international trading, and differing economy. The election of a Republican president was the final straw for the South since the states soon seceding after President Lincoln was elected. The fact that the petitioners want their state to leave the United States because someone they didn’t like was chosen as president is insulting to the original Southerners who had more than one reason to want to leave the country. The petitioners also argue that the United States is a corrupt country, even though the American people participated in democracy and chose their leader – a type of government that is uncommon worldwide. There are other countries where the people have no say in electing their countries’ leaders, but here in the United States, the White House has to waste time reviewing these petitions.

When people delightfully talk about a Civil War being probable, it appears as though they have never were taught about the Gettysburg Battle, the bloodiest battle on the American soil that took place during the original Civil War. The Gettysburg Battle took place in three days (July 1-3, 1863) but resulted in over 50,000 soldiers dying. Months later, President Abraham Lincoln was asked to attend and speak at the dedication of the cemetery. The speech was small, but yet it sent a message. President Lincoln said “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here” yet it seems as though people have forgotten how horrible war is. They forgot about the sight of blood, the smell of dead bodies, the tears of family members – they forgot how soldiers risked their lives to bring back the Southern states. “These dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth,” said President Lincoln, stating how the Civil War was a test on the United States’ strength and that it would survive the war… and he was right.

The United States is a land of freedom where every adult can vote for president. Instead of signing their names on a piece of paper, the petitioners should be productive and focus on what they can do to better the country or if they want, they can leave the United States on their own. But acting as though a possible Civil War is justified through the reelection of President Obama – it is insulting to everyone who fought in the Civil War.

Oklahoma Fails to Separate Church from State

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Oklahoma State Capitol

Oklahoma State Capitol (Photo credit: StevenM_61)

On November 16th, a 2,000 pound block describing the Ten Commandments was installed on the grounds of the Oklahoma State Capitol. Representative Mike Ritze (R) sponsored the “Ten Commandments Monument Display Act” which states that the Ten Commandments found in the Bible are “an important component of the moral foundation of the laws and legal system of the United States of America and of the State of Oklahoma.” Is he trying to suggest that Oklahoma is controlled by the bible? Because if he is, he did not take high school government since the First Amendment (a law that Oklahoma should actually be following) states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The law clearly states that the government cannot make a law establishing a religion, yet Oklahoma created a religious monument and placed in on government grounds. Also, in the Treaty of Tripoli, sent to the Senate by President John Adams, is written that “The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” Once again, a founding father points out how the United States is not founded on the Christian religion.

Though the Ten Commandments do have some good laws, like how one should not murder someone else, it also forbids people from believing in other gods. Seeing how this statement is sitting a few feet from the Capitol, it can make other religions feel uneasy, as though Oklahoma may possibly create laws from the Christian religion. As Ryan Kiesel, executive director of American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Oklahoma, claims that when “legislatures set up a monument that seems to put one faith above others, it creates an environment where some visitors will feel like second-class citizens.” Another problem is what will happen when other religious start creating laws that support their religious laws to be shown at the Capitol grounds also? If the laws pass, a nice Scientology monument may be the next monument to share space on the Capitol grounds.

At the moment, ACLU has not begun to sue Oklahoma for violating the separation of state and government but the Liberty Legal Foundation promises to represent Oklahoma at no cost. The Liberty Legal Foundation also led legal challenges to President Barack Obama’s place of birth – in other words, Oklahoma will be represented by a bunch of crazies. This is just more proof that Oklahoma is wrong to place religious text on government property.

The fact that there was an actual law about this monument also shows how politicians are wasting their time. Instead of actually trying to help the people, they are wasting time and money creating religious monuments. The tax payers did not pay for the monument since it was raised through private donations and the Ritze family; the fact that people were willing to spend $10,000 to put a bunch of ancient laws near the capitol is insulting to Christians. In the bible, it is mentioned how important donating to the less fortunate are, but people actually thought a historical symbol depicting ancient laws from another country were important. That money could have gone to supporting education, helping the homeless, saving the rain forest; but instead, it went to a monument that contains scripture found in every hotel room in the United States.

Oklahoma’s Ten Commandments

Treaty of Tripoli

First Amendment

First Amendment Oklahoma